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South Korea Responds To Cryptocurrency Petition

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February 15, 2018 12:10 AM

A public petition that requested the South Korean government refrain from hardline virtual currency regulation has drawn a response from Hong Nam-ki, minister of the office for government policy coordination.

A February 13, 2018 report said that the petition issued to the government by South Korean citizens, which demands a stay on a cryptocurrency crackdown, has reached 280,000 signatures, prompting a response from public officials.

In the case of petitions, the South Korean government is required to respond to those that garner over 200,000 signatures within a month. At one point the public’s demand for the government to steer away from a cryptocurrency ban caused the official presidential « Blue House » website to temporarily go offline, overloaded by visitors trying to sign the petition.

In response to the public outcry, Hong Nam-ki, minister of the office for government policy co-ordination, issued a statement:

« The government’s basic rule is to prevent any illegal acts or uncertainties regarding cryptocurrency trade, while eagerly nurturing blockchain technology. »

The public petition arose following South Korean Justice Minister Park Sang-ki’s statements on January 10, claiming the government was preparing legislation aimed at banning cryptocurrency trading through exchanges. Concerns over this may have been partially allayed by Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon, who, in the weeks to follow, said that the government had « no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency. »

Hong addressed the contrasting statements between various officials: « The government is still divided with many opinions ranging from an outright ban on cryptocurrency trading to bringing the institutions that handle the currency into the system. »

South Korea may also have plans to tax cryptocurrencies, according to Hong, which implies that commerce facilitated from trading could bolster the state treasury. A ban might stifle the prospects of tax revenue that would result from trading activity.

Hong said that after a thorough investigation, the government will announce what plans it has, if any, to expand and regulate blockchain- and cryptocurrency-based businesses.

Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine. He is a full time staff writer for ETHNews and holds value in Ether.

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